Tuesday, December 10, 2013

What Christmas Means To Me

I'm listening to Mandisa's Christmas Album and the first song is What Christmas Means To Me and it gets me thinking. I ponder what Christmas means to me. Oh, I know all the theological things it means to me. Jesus is the Reason for the season. Tell me "Happy Holidays" and I'll reply with "Merry Christmas." I love Christmas but I love Advent, too.

Christmas doesn't mean shop 'til I drop and see how deep in debt I can go. Ho ho ho!

It doesn't mean fighting crowds and traffic. I'm no fighter. Not against people, anyway.

It doesn't mean pulling out the decorations in October, or even in November. Heck. It's December 10th as I write and they're still nowhere in sight! The tree may not even be pulled down from the attic until December 24th, after the Christmas Eve Candle Lighting Service. And I'm fine with that. But you know what? When it's up it will stay up for MONTHS! Seriously and truly. MONTHS! Our granddaughter loves the lights. And I love not tying Christmas to one day. For me, Christmas is a heart thing and as long as my heart is beating it will be that way. Now my neighbors might understand me better!

Christmas will come no matter when the tree is decorated and the house is lit and the presents are wrapped...if they are wrapped! And unfilled stockings will not stop Christmas from coming either.

And I'm no Grinch! I love Christmas! But I don't like what it has become.

I used to though. I was the person who had ALL her shopping done by the end of July and if I didn't, something was seriously wrong!

All that changed with the Christmas of 2008. My melanoma-diagnosed year. Ironically, I was diagnosed in July...the month I liked to be finished Christmas shopping.

I learned that year that Christmas is every day of every year. Christmas is a heart thing and not a glitz thing. Christmas is all about what you can give, any time, to anybody. Christmas is about watching God take the ordinary and the forgotten and the downtrodden and lifting them up and raising them to the heights. New heights. Heights of the soul.

Christmas is about miracles. Big and small. Life and death. Miracles.

We've lost sight of the fact that we are all miracles. Each day we see is another miracle. Sure, perfect health, ideal families, and storybook endings are fabulous...but they are also figments of our imaginations.

But if you want real miracles and not Hollywood fabrications...look around you. Open your heart and spirit. Let your soul soar above the doom and gloom and let the Lord set you free from all that would seek to hold you down...and you'll know miracles. You'll witness what's around us and see it with fresh eyes. Sure you'll see the bad and the ugly. It's there. But we choose whether we focus on that or if we look for good and focus on that.

I choose not to just look for the good, I choose to focus on God in the good and in the bad. "Good" in and of itself can be a miracle...but to see God at work in the bad and redeeming it and transforming it...wow...that's a miracle!

And that's Christmas.

charis